Reading guide for Love Begins in Winter by Simon Van Booy

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Love Begins in Winter

Five Stories

by Simon Van Booy

Love Begins in Winter
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • Paperback:
    May 2009, 256 pages

  • Rate this book

Buy This Book

About this Book

Reading Guide Questions Print Excerpt

Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!

On the verge of giving up—anchored to dreams that never came true and to people who have long since disappeared from their lives—Van Booy's characters walk the streets of these stark and beautiful stories until chance meetings with strangers force them to face responsibility for lives they thought had continued on without them.

Questions for Discussion
  1. In the title short story, why do the two main characters hold on to physical things—acorns, stones, mittens, the grandfather's broken chair? Do you see these objects as physical burdens or as lovingly preserved souvenirs? What is your most precious possession and why?

  2. In Love Begins in Winter, the narrator muses that, "The most significant conversations of our lives occur in silence" (42). Do you agree with this statement? Why or why not?

  3. When Bruno and Hannah release their kites into the air in Love Begins in Winter, how does this simple action reflect how they have lived for the past 20 years?

  4. Do you think that the act of the narrator in "Tiger, Tiger" biting her boyfriend at the end of the story is an acceptable regression to her child-like state—a playful reinvention and display of her love? Or do you think she has just gone crazy? Do you think they stay together in the end? Why or why not?

  5. In "The Missing Statues," discuss the relationship between the two cities of Las Vegas and Rome. Do you think it's strange that anyone would find beauty in a city like Las Vegas?

  6. In "The Coming and Going of Strangers," do you agree with Walter's understanding of only experiencing one pure first love? What does this contribute to your discovery that Walter ends up marrying Jane?

  7. Also in "The Coming and Going of Strangers," why do you think the farmer stopped to pick up Walter's father and the child? Was it because he was in World War II?

  8. Why does George in "The City of Windy Trees" live such an isolated life? Do you think George did the right thing by going to see his unknown daughter Lotta, in Sweden? What would you have done?

  9. In George's letter to his sister Helen, he writes "I regret things I haven't done—rather than things I have—strange eh?" What sorts of things do you think George wishes he'd done? Do you feel the same about your life?

  10. In "The City of Windy Trees," all the adults work together to make a child's life happy. Is this true for other children in the book? Would you agree with the idea that children are the most important characters in Van Booy's fiction?

  11. When Lotta and George are ice skating in "The City of Windy Tress", George breaks away "to skate clumsily but without falling over" (224). What type of metaphor for parenting is this? Do you find this to be true in your own life if you're a parent, or in the lives of other parents you know?

Unless otherwise stated, this discussion guide is reprinted with the permission of Harper Perennial. Any page references refer to a USA edition of the book, usually the trade paperback version, and may vary in other editions.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member
and discover your next great read!

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Crossing the Horizon
    Crossing the Horizon
    by Laurie Notaro
    In Crossing the Horizon, Laurie Notaro takes us back to a time when flying was a rare and risky ...
  • Book Jacket
    Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions
    by Mario Giordano
    Munich matron and self-described worldly sophisticate, Isolde Oberreiter, has decided to retire to a...
  • Book Jacket: Of Arms and Artists
    Of Arms and Artists
    by Paul Staiti
    In the late eighteenth-century, the United States of America was still an emerging country, ...
Book Discussions
Book Jacket
The Bone Tree
by Greg Iles

An epic trilogy of blood and race, family and justice.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    The Comet Seekers
    by Helen Sedgwick

    A magical, intoxicating debut novel, both intimate and epic.

    Read Member Reviews

Win this book!
Win The World of Poldark

Win the book & DVD

Enter to win The World of Poldark and the full first series on DVD.


Word Play

Solve this clue:

One S D N M A S

and be entered to win..

Books that     

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.


Free Weekly Newsletter

Keep up with what's happening in the world of books:
Reviews, previews, interviews and more!

Spam Free: Your email is never shared with anyone; opt out any time.